PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Friday is the first day to file your tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service.
More than 150 million tax returns are expected to be filed this year, with the IRS issuing over $400 billion in tax refunds. But as money editor Jon Delano reports, as the tax season begins, some local taxpayers are being told they got unemployment benefits they never received.READ MORE: Tax Day: Deadline To File 2020 Returns Approaching
We all know how hard it was for Pennsylvanians to get unemployment benefits during this pandemic. But suppose you never get benefits and the state sends you — and the IRS — a tax form saying you did?
Apparently, that’s happening to many.
The other day, a 1099 tax form arrived from the state’s Office of Unemployment Compensation for Norma Efremenko’s husband.
“It was reported that he received $9,540, which he never filed for and never received,” said Efremenko.
Delano: Because he’s retired?
Efremenko: That is correct.
He’s not alone. KDKA has heard from others who have received 1099 forms telling the IRS that they received thousands of dollars in benefits they never got.READ MORE: Jury Selection Begins For Trial Of Suspended Pirates Pitcher Felipe Vazquez
“It’s happening to thousands and thousands of people all over the Commonwealth,” says Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity.
Garrity says the problem is nationwide.
“They are receiving 1099s not just from Pennsylvania but from other states like, for example, Ohio and New Jersey,” she added.
State unemployment officials would not go on camera, but in a press release said that it “likely indicates a case of identity fraud.”
“It’s just been a mess,” says Efremenko.
Efremenko reported this to her local police and filed fraud reports with state and federal agencies. As for the state unemployment office that she tried to call, she says, “The line is consistently busy, and it just hangs up on me and I’ve been on the phone for 24 hours.”
The state agency says to report the problem online and they will notify the IRS of the false 1099. As for your tax returns, the state agency advises you to go ahead and file your tax return reporting only your real income.MORE NEWS: Penn State Professor Errol Henderson Accuses University Of Racial Discrimination In Federal Lawsuit